New Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt is in the hot seat already as the team is not performing up to expectations so far this season. Fans anticipated a banner year after the return of star player LeBron James.
A report by ESPN cited league officials as saying that, “There is a growing level of worry within the Cleveland Cavaliers organization about first-year coach David Blatt and his ability to reach the team.”
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According to rumors, Blatt is failing to connect with his players while they are out on the floor during games. After a crushing defeat Sunday night at home to the Pistons Blatt confessed, “[we] lost our energy and we lost our competitiveness” That is not something a coach should generally say about his players to the press.
The coach told ESPN, “We have not played perfectly this year, I don’t claim that. On the other hand, we’re doing pretty good. We lost a couple games, we’re down a few of our main players and last night did not look good and we did not respond well to it during the game. I recognize that. And certainly when that happens I’m every bit as much a part of that as everybody else, but it has nothing to do with questions along the lines of what I’ve heard. I just don’t think that’s right or fair. I really don’t.”
Blatt made headlines in June when he was picked by Cleveland to take over the team from his last position as head coach of Israel’s perennial champion Maccabee Tel Aviv basketball team. While born and raised in the US, Blatt had lived in Israel for 30 years and was a local hero having led Maccabee to a Euro League championship and multiple Israeli championships.
That was why Cleveland offered him a four year $20 million contract and why all of Israel celebrated the hiring as a national victory, of sorts.
But all of that was six months ago and in the world of sports half a year is a really long time.
It’s not that the Cavaliers are doing terribly so far this season. The team is in second place in its division with an 18-12 record and fifth place in its conference’s overall playoff standings (8 teams make it). And it is not even the halfway point in the NBA season yet.